Canary melons, considered true cantaloupes, are members of the Cucurbitaceae family and are named for the bright yellow rind color. Originating in Europe, the fruit is also known as the Juan Canary, Jaune des Canaries, San Juan Canary or Spanish melon. The juicy flesh and mellow, sweet flavor lends well to a variety of fruit salads and soups. Canary melons thrive in hot, dry locations with slightly acidic soil amended with nutrient-rich, organic compost and generous watering during the growing season.
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Check the color of the canary melon rind. Immature fruits are pale green in color and covered with fuzzy hairs. Once the fruit ripens, the rind turns bright yellow, develops ridges, loses the fuzz and takes on a waxy feel.
Observe the stem where the fruit is connected to the vine for slip. If the melon easily pulls away from the stem, it is ready for harvest. Canary melons can be cut away before slippage occurs and will continue to ripen once removed from the vine.
Feel the blossom end of the melon for softness. It should give just a bit when gently pushed in with your finger. The blossom end is the end opposite the stem.
Smell the fruit. If you can smell the sweet perfume of the melon, it's ready to be picked and enjoyed.
Uncut canary melons have a long shelf life, according to the Specialty Produce website.
The shape of a canary melon can be completely round to somewhat oblong, depending on the specific variety grown.
July is the peak season for finding canary melons at your local produce market.